Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

In search of sustainable and responsible consumption (SRC)

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
5.02.00  Social sciences  Economics   

Code Science Field
S191  Social sciences  Market study 

Code Science Field
5.02  Social Sciences  Economics and Business 
Sustainability, sustainable consumption and production, value
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (16)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  33234  PhD Tjaša Bartolj  Economics  Researcher  2016 - 2018  77 
2.  32242  Barbara Benčič    Technical associate  2016 - 2018 
3.  24101  PhD Barbara Čater  Economics  Researcher  2016 - 2018  326 
4.  11975  PhD Tanja Dmitrović  Economics  Researcher  2016 - 2018  358 
5.  28675  PhD Urša Golob Podnar  Sociology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  450 
6.  24395  PhD Mateja Kos Koklič  Economics  Researcher  2016 - 2018  334 
7.  09110  PhD Boris Majcen  Economics  Researcher  2016 - 2018  475 
8.  23544  PhD Nika Murovec  Economics  Researcher  2016 - 2018  96 
9.  30812  PhD Marko Ogorevc  Economics  Researcher  2017 - 2018  104 
10.  21606  PhD Klement Podnar  Sociology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  536 
11.  02413  PhD Janez Prašnikar  Economics  Researcher  2016 - 2018  765 
12.  18980  PhD Adriana Rejc Buhovac  Economics  Researcher  2016 - 2018  499 
13.  15323  PhD Renata Slabe Erker  Economics  Researcher  2016 - 2018  291 
14.  24563  PhD Miroslav Verbič  Economics  Researcher  2016 - 2018  463 
15.  11462  PhD Irena Vida  Economics  Researcher  2016 - 2018  620 
16.  15495  PhD Vesna Žabkar  Economics  Head  2016 - 2018  892 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0502  Institute for Economic Research  Ljubljana  5051690000  2,658 
2.  0582  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences  Ljubljana  1626957  39,483 
3.  0584  University of Ljubljana, School of Economics and Business (SEB)  Ljubljana  1626922  41,231 
Background The field of sustainable consumption and production has been developing rapidly in recent years. Intensive development and various ethical aspects of sustainability have created many inconsistencies, contradictions and ambiguities. Researchers and experts from practice often confront some basic questions such as: What are the dimensions of sustainability? Who is responsible for sustainable development? What is the role of consumers and companies in this process?   Problem identification Current research is lacking a holistic perspective, connecting all stakeholders in order to achieve sustainable responsible consumption. Due to the steadily evolving concept of sustainability and global systemic changes in markets and lifestyles, the sustainability concept has not been fully operationalized in practice. That is, most emphasis on macro and micro level is put on the environmental dimension of sustainability. However, how consumers can become more responsible and how companies are developing a more actionable agenda for sustainable growth with regard to sustainable responsible consumption, remain areas for further research.   Aims of the project Research shows that both consumption and production patterns in certain industries are mostly unsustainable, and changing them poses a significant challenge that needs to be addressed both on macro and micro level. Hence, an improved international and dynamic macroeconomic insight into these patterns can help discover suitable leverages for the change. We will use institutional approaches together with social constructivism theory to explore sustainability issues on a macro level. Implementation of these insights on the micro level requires a deeper understanding of consumer behavior and managerial practices. We will focus on identifying the antecedents that play the most prominent role in shaping the individual’s behavior and conflicting consumption goals that create gaps leading to sustainable behavior. Managerial practices and inclusion of sustainability goals in strategic plans will be researched to establish potential consumer value propositions of sustainable strategies. At this level our research will be informed by the theory of social exchange and service-dominant logic thinking. We aim at a deeper understanding of the sustainable strategy development process and potential outcomes that could enable companies to make better decisions as well as to explore interaction effects between consumers and companies in creating sustainable value.   Methodology The project applies a multi-method, mixed methodology approach for the study of the research problem from different perspectives (companies and consumers, using content analysis, microeconomic models, econometric analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, conjoint analysis and experiments).   Contribution The proposed project is expected to introduce a novel state-of-the-art tool to empirically follow the changes in the condition of sustainability on a macro and micro level. Our contribution is in the theoretical and empirical attempt to combine different levels and facets of sustainability issues and understand how sustainability is valued on the production and consumption side, how consumers and managers decide on trade-offs between different sustainability dimensions and how sustainability can be further institutionalised on a national/European level. Team strengths The partners combine a multitude of knowledge and skills necessary for the success of the project: consumer behavior and management strategy (EF), micro and macroeconomic modeling and econometrics (IER), corporate social responsibility research and communications (FDV). The team has rich experience in best practice recommendations for management and policy and dissemination through educational practices. Researchers benefit from cooperation with distinguished researchers from WU Vienna, Austria, Leeds University, UK, Harvard University, USA and Aarhus Universi
Significance for science
One of the project’s most important objectives is to holistically examine the concept of sustainability on the macro (country) and micro (individual/company) level. To achieve this, one of the goals is to contribute to the recent scientific discussion on sustainability and improve understanding of the concept by providing state-of-the-art knowledge about its pillars and giving them a stronger interpretation. This contribution is internationally significant since it will provide relevant information to other researchers constructing sustainability indices with respect to which dimensions to include as separate dimensions in estimation of an index (given that, so far, no attempt to construct a sustainability index uses multivariate analysis methodology). Using clustering analysis, we will determine for the first time the general similarities and differences of observed sustainability models in various countries and show different groupings. The use of panel data will enable the trends in (the changes of) such models to be observed over several years. In consumer behavior area we will contribute to the novel understanding of the nomological net of sustainable consumption with an emphasis on resolving the intention-behavior gap and trade-offs in responsible behavior, using conjoint analysis and experiments. An important world-wide contribution to management research will be to highlight implementation problems and solutions in simultaneous management of sustainability dimensions in responsible marketing strategies. Finally, the state-of-the-art integration of perception of power and value creation through interaction between consumers and companies will be applied using experiment setting and incentive-compatible auction to measure consumer willingness to pay.   To summarize, this project brings a novel and the first statistically developed state-of-the-art tools and approaches with the following expected results: - a novel application in terms of cross-fertilization of concepts & theories to explore sustainability; - a holistic presentation of conditions for sustainability from the micro and macro level and how sustainability can be further institutionalized on a national and European level; - an explanation of sustainability phenomenon through the model of social mechanisms (situational, action-formation in transformation); - novel conceptual models of interactive sustainable value creation that include both, supply and demand side and combine different levels and facets of sustainability issues; and - an explanation of interaction between consumers and management and how consumers and managers decide on trade-offs between different sustainability dimensions.
Significance for the country
Given that sustainable development is becoming one of the fundamental objectives of strategic initiatives (UNEP, UN, Slovenia's Development Strategy 2014–2020), it is immensely important to address this topic in scientific research. The analysis of general similarities and differences of observed sustainability models in various countries and different groupings could have important consequences for empirical sustainability policy. Successful realization of the project’s objectives would have an impact on the development of sustainable responsible consumption, sustainable business practices and wider society. The team members already have extensive experiences in preparing strategic documents and policy papers (IER) as well as supporting managers in developing relevant managerial strategies (EF, FDV). The results will be relevant for businesses, non-governmental organizations and policymakers. The findings will help policymakers and marketers prepare effective communication strategies to promote sustainable consumption practices. Further, the improved understanding of how consumers and companies behave and make decisions will help policymakers to stimulate responsible behavior. The results regarding the sustainable consumption and production indices are of global strategic importance and understood as the basis for achieving the sustainable orientations of European countries based on evidence (evidence-based policy), particularly systemic leverages that have an immediate or remote impact. Although a lot of effort and resources have been invested in data gathering and the development of various sustainability indices in recent decades, these measures have never been statistically validated. Our research will develop and statistically verify a state-of-the-art set of indicators which might show the pitfalls of the existing monitoring systems.
Most important scientific results Interim report, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Interim report, final report
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